Murphy seeks open floodgates for Connecticut dams

Rep. Chris Murphy, D-5th District, won House approval Tuesday for legislations that would allow the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to license the towns of Canton, Avon and Burlington so they can reactive two old power-producing dams.

The towns have wanted to operate the two Collinsville dams, built in the 18th and 19th centuries, to produce electricity that would provide power to about 1,500 homes.

The dams once provided power to the Collins Co., which once produced axes but closed in the 1960s. But now they are owned by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which needs federal approval to transfer the dams to the towns.

Murphy’s legislation was approved by the House on a voice vote as part of an energy appropriations bill.

“It was a rare moment of bipartisanship,” the lawmaker said in a jocular reference to the partisan gridlock that has gripped Congress.

But this is not the end to the issue.

Working with Canton Republican First Selectman Dick Barlow, Murphy won House approval of similar legislation in 2010. But it never became law because the Senate failed to act on it.